Rock Art in the Nomadic Landscape of the Black Desert


The "Black Desert" in the northern Arabian Peninsula is home to thousands of pieces of rock art - both written inscriptions and figural images - left there by the region's nomadic inhabitants during the Hellenistic and Roman periods ca. 2,000 years ago. Dr. Nathalie Brusgaard received her PhD (Leiden University, 2019) for her research into this rock art, exploring their content and themes and what they can tell us about the cultures, lifestyles, and subsistence methods of the Black Desert's nomadic peoples. In this episode, she joins me to share her findings and to discuss how archaeology and material remains can illuminate the lives and practices of ancient nomadic pastoralists.

Dr. Brusgaard's book (open access), "Carving Interactions: Rock Art in the Nomadic Landscape of the Black Desert, North-Eastern Jordan."

Explore examples of ancient North Arabian inscriptions and rock art via OCIANA (the Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia),

Music in this episode: Desert City by Kevin MacLeod. License.

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Maggie Freeman

Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.

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